Pen Names – Why Should you?

A rose by any other name …

Do you want to feel mysterious or just always hated your name? Well legally you could rose 2just go change your name then. Look at prince.  Now his name is symbol – eh er, or maybe it’s the Artist Formally Known as Prince since you can’t actually type in the symbol. Okay bad example. Why is this a bad example? Because he chose something that would make him nearly unsearchable. Had he not had a HUGE name and a HUGE following I doubt he’d have succeeded in his change. I am not a Prince fan – no offense to those that are, but he is an example of what not to do for someone starting out.

• Now if you have a very common name or you need or want to keep your anonymity then a Pen Name could be a great option. I have an author friend who has a horror story of an ex and needs to remain hidden; that’s a great reason to have a pen name even though there are ways to hide your private information.

• Another example to use a pen name is if you write two very different genres or two genres that you don’t think the readerships would mix. If you write YA by day and erotica by night, I would suggest a pen name for one. You don’t want a YA to pick up a copy of your erotica by accident. I had this happen – not YA to erotica, but Contemporary Romance to erotica. I had no idea this author wrote both. Talk about a bit of a shock when page 4 had some explicate things occurring already.

• Have you published under another name and had bad sales or did you self publish and not do as well as hoped? Well a pen name could reinvent you.

• Trying to hide from the day job or from family? Well a pen name will help. Granted they have to be searching for you to find anything. Maybe my family isn’t very curious or maybe they are the norm, no one suspected me of writing. Even now they all just seem to wave it off as a crazy notion. I don’t know why I was afraid of family finding out and I don’t make enough for my day job to care.

When choosing a name Google it.  See what comes up.  No point in going from one common name to another, or choosing a name a million others already use.  Don’t go for hard to recognize or hard to pronounce.  You can always go by initials too such as JK Rowling.

There are a bunch of reasons that a pen name can be a good option, but there are reasons to stay who you are also. It’s easier to brand you as you after all. There is also something exciting about seeing your name on the cover or in Amazon. I recently got to hear another authors take on why she chose to go with a pen name. See that post here.  I did not go with a pen name – not yet.  Part of me wishes I’d done something a little different since my name is fairly common.  But for now it will work.  Please don’t stalk me.  That would be highly unappreciated, although flattering to know I had fans.

How about you?  Did you or didn’t you?  Will you or won’t you?  What are you reasons for staying with your name or choosing a pen name?

A related article with a few more things I didn’t think of. Karen Woodward

Fun Fact Friday – Author Denise Moncrief and Her Alter-self

Denise MoncriefBehind every book is a mysterious author right?  Um, no.  Not really.  Although behind every book is an author who may or may not want to share her personal life with the public.  Having a stalker isn’t really that romantic no matter what a romance author can spin.  Author Denise Moncrief took precautions in her career as a writer and protected who her alter ego is.

I imagine that this is all somewhat being like a super hero.  Imagine Miss Linda X with a mask on as she writes under the guise of Denise Moncrief.  Okay really – why did Miss X go with a pen name?  Two very good reasons.  One was to keep her personal life private.  In her wordsMy main reason was that I wanted my private identity and my public persona to be separate. The idea is to make it harder for someone to stalk me, right? Besides, my legal last name? You either have to be born with that name or really love the guy to marry it! (I really love my guy!)  

Shoosh – don’t tell poor Mr. X about his last name.

The second reason was because believe it or not there were a lot of people out there that shared her REAL name.  By choosing a new name to write under she made herself highly searchable and easy to find.  I am a little jealous I didn’t think of this.  I love her quote for this. Let’s face it. Authors love to write, but we also want to sell what we write.”

 So for anyone thinking they might want to use a Pen name think about why and how.  I will be doing a post on the pro’s and con’s but I think Miss. X gave us two very valid reasons to choose a fun alter ego.

New Release

Available from 5 Prince Publishing Her latest release Crisis of Identity

Tess Copeland is an operator. Her motto? Necessity is the mother of a good a con. When Hurricane Irving slams into the Texas Gulf coast, Tess seizes the opportunity to escape her past by hijacking a dead woman’s life, but Shelby Coleman’s was the wrong identity to steal. And the cop that trails her? He’s a U.S. Marshall with the Fugitive Task Force for the northern district of Illinois. Tess left Chicago because the criminal justice system gave her no choice. Now she’s on the run from ghosts of misdeeds past—both hers and Shelby’s.

Enter Trevor Smith, a pseudo-cowboy from Houston, Texas, with good looks, a quick tongue, and testosterone poisoning. Will Tess succumb to his questionable charms and become his damsel in distress? She doesn’t have to faint at his feet—she’s capable of handling just about anything. But will she choose to let Trevor be the man? When Tess kidnaps her niece, her life changes. She must make some hard decisions. Does she trust the lawman that promises her redemption, or does she trust the cowboy that promises her nothing but himself?

Excerptfrom Crisis of Identity:

The room had already filled five times with sea-soaked bodies. The dead lay head-to-foot, column-by-column, row-by-row, ten by twenty. Victim 973 had scrawled her Social Security number down her left arm just as she’d been instructed. I noted the number on my log and moved on, trying hard not to think about the person, concentrating only on the morbid job some pushy cop forced on me.

Across the high school gymnasium, a man worked the other end of the column. As his stealthy glances trailed me around the gym, the acid in my overwrought stomach churned every time our eyes met.

“Want to take a break?” His sudden question reverberated throughout the cavernous space.

I curled one tendril of hair around my left ear. “Sure.”

I followed him into the locker room, grabbing a foam cup and filling it with tepid coffee. The man did the same from another urn. The burnt brew left traces of bitterness in my mouth. I rubbed my tongue over my teeth in a vain attempt to remove the acrid leftovers.

My mind turned off for a few precious moments as I ignored the makeshift morgue on the other side of the wall. The man’s strong, masculine bass invaded my mental hideaway. “They’re starting to smell ripe.” He gulped down another ounce of artificial stimulant, staring at me over the rim of his cup.

My insides flipped. “It’s been four days.”

He nodded. “Most of these don’t have numbers.”

“Makes it harder to identify them.”

He leaned against a locker. “This group must have thought they were invincible.”

“Doesn’t everyone?” I tossed my cup into the overflowing trash. “Think they’re invincible, I mean.”

“Certain death. How do you interpret that? I think it means, ‘I stay. I die.’ Must not have sunk in until it was too late.” His sarcastic attitude unsettled me, made me want to defend the dead.

“They’ve been warned before and nothing happened.” When the locals ordered an evacuation two years before, it proved to be a false alarm. The residents of the Texas Gulf coast weren’t so easy to convince this time. It seemed no one learned a lesson from Hurricane Katrina. “And…we’re not dead.” Our eyes locked.

Someone’s presence warmed my back. The site supervisor stood over my shoulder and repeated his prerecorded rant for the millionth time. “Mandatory is mandatory. The dead ignored the warning to their own peril. If they wanted to stay put, the least they could do is write their soc number on their arms…just like they were told to do. How many times did the news people make that announcement? Write your number on your arm if you plan to stay. How hard is that?”

I shifted away from him. I didn’t dare write my number on my arm.

“Suppose the two of you take a few. You look wasted, and these guys…” He waved his hand toward the gym. “Aren’t going anywhere.”


Denise wrote her first story when she was in high school—seventeen hand-written pages on school-ruled paper and an obvious rip-off of the last romance novel she read. She earned a degree in accounting, giving her some nice skills to earn a little money, but her passion has always been writing. She has written numerous short stories and more than a few full-length novels. Her favorite pastimes when she’s not writing are spending time with her family, traveling, reading, and scrapbooking. She lives in Louisiana with her husband, two children, and one very chubby dog.

Visit her web page to see other titles available.  Miss. X is a multi-published author with multiple publishers including Still Moments Publishing.

Find her On Amazon